What has been done and still needs to be done to skill South Africans to deliver infrastructure projects
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The National Infrastructure Plan is made up of eighteen Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) each of which consists of a large number of projects drawn from a wide range of economic sectors and stretching across all nine provinces of South Africa. The Department of Higher Education and Training, was given the task of ensuring that the skills demands of these projects were realised both in advance of (for), and on the sites of (through), the development of the Strategic Integrated Projects. This paper presents the approach adopted to determine the occupations required and the interventions necessary to address the demand. Although focused on infrastructure skills, the approach can be generalised for skills planning in any field such as health, education, etc. The concept of determining which occupations are required is fundamental to the process. The aim is to increase the pool of those with the requisite skills in the South African labour market – rather than seeking to map an individual to a job vacancy. Education and training providers have their own language, that of qualifications which does not speak to the language of occupation in a linear fashion. So the notion of a learning pathway was created to bridge the two. It commences with the underpinning knowledge or theory required, followed by simulated practice of some of the critical skills and procedures, followed by supervised practice in a real workplace and culminating in a formal assessment which might result in a professional designation, a trade certificate, a licence to practice or some other recognition that the practitioner is now competent to practice without supervision – with the qualification providers being equivalent to the first one or two steps of this pathway. A methodology was developed to determine the skills required for different types of projects. The methodology essentially consists of developing what are called skills prototypes for typical projects in each of the different sub-sectors. These prototypes are then used to estimate the skill requirements of similar projects by scaling the prototype up or down. In this way an estimation of the total skills required for all projects was developed.
Chetty, M., Bird, A. and Lawless, A. 2016. What has been done and still needs to be done to skill South Africans to deliver infrastructure projects . Special Projects (DHET): 1-17.